Rap Sheet

Hello friends. I have always tried to be open and honest about my health journey. I have never wanted or allowed my health to define who I am. I am a child of God’s. Wonderfully created in His image. A lot of people have reached out to me since my stroke to see what was going on with my health overall. So after praying about it, I have decided to share my medical rap sheet (HaHa). Once again, none of these conditions define who I am. I share this to encourage anyone walking through a storm to stay positive and use their story to encourage others. Please do me a favor. Do not fill my comment section with home remedies or ways to fight these conditions. I have a great medical team taking care of me. Thanks. Here we go….

  • I am only the 28th person in the world to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Myasthenia Gravis at the same time. Yeah me!

*Covid Long Haulers.

*Still recovering from a stroke.

*Based on being so many medications over the years, the doctor shared my pancreas is fried. So I have been diagnosed with Diabetes. Currently taking insulin.

As you can see, I am in a real fight. But I am not walking this journey alone. God is walking right by my side. Holding me up when I cannot stand myself. I am blessed with a beautiful bride Laura West Shoemaker, who is an incredible caregiver. I have a wonderful circle of friends standing in the gap. I am blessed with a great medical team. I am thankful I have great insurance. I will continue to fight and share the story God has given me. I am far from giving up. I am excited about the wonderful plans God has for me. Living a blessed life. ~OC

Gratitude

Today’s a new day! It saddens me that America has become overrun with so much entitlement. We currently live in a country were we believe we deserve more, more and more. We are disappointed with everything that interferes with this poisonous belief. Some people are upset with their families, neighbors, churches and even the waitress at the local restaurant when they interfere with that person getting more. When the dust settles, some are even disappointed with God. How dare He not give us everything we want.

What craziness. If only we could see our situation clearly. Even for one moment. We deserved death. God gave us life. We deserved judgement. God gave us grace. We should be filled overwhelming gratitude. Nothing less. Because God owes us nothing. Just the opposite. We owe God everything. When we realize we deserve nothing, it puts a tough day in perspective, doesn’t it? ~OC

Power of Hope

When we wake up and are still facing the storms of life, we need to reach up to God and grab onto the hand of hope. The bigger the waves, the worries and troubles, the more the stage is set for God to move mightily in calming the waves. God cares about our storms.

One of the lessons God wants to teach us during the storms of life, is to fully trust in Him and not lose hope. Hope is a life changing word. No matter how many tears have filled the boat, how many prayers seemingly unanswered, or how fear grips us there is hope. We can cling into that hope during the worst storms. God will always be by our side as the crashing waves try to take us out. Plant your feet in the beautiful hope of God. ~OC

Conversation With God

Hello. As I walk through this crazy beautiful health journey, God has been sharing and teaching me a lot. I thought I would share some of the lessons and conversations with God.

*I will not experience healing on this side of heaven. Yes, God clearly shared that with me during one of our morning conversations. I am at such peace. There is no fear, worry or anger. Just the sweet peace of God flowing through my life. Do you have that kind of peace?

*Healing comes in many different forms. We get caught up in the miracles we can see with our eyes. Those are beautiful! But God is performing miracles daily that we cannot see with our eyes. Those healings and miracles are just as real as the ones we can see.

*Keep sharing the story God has given me. The thorn in my side is health issues. Still God is using my health issues to minister to a broken world. A broken world that needs the beautiful light of God. A world that needs encouragement.

*Be bold in sharing the true gospel. A lot of false theology being pushed in the Christian community.

*I did nothing to lose my miracle from 2019. My current health battle is not from sin in my life or an evil spirit living in me. That healing from 2019 was real and from God.

*God shared he owes us nothing. Everything He does in our lives is a beautiful gift. A gift of love, forgiveness and grace.

*God will not always answer our prayers the way we want them to be answered, but He will always walk with us through the journey. We have to learn to be okay with His plans for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Also every trial will produce lessons. We learn more in the valley than on the mountaintop.

*Then Jesus asked me a question. I did not hear the audible voice of Jesus. He asked me “Who has suffered more than me?” Jesus shared he suffered most of his life. Suffering is part of the journey. But as Christians we never want to walk that journey. But by choosing not to embrace the journey of suffering, we are missing out on some incredible lessons Jesus has for us and others.

I pray these words bring you comfort today. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay Focused. Finish Strong. ~OC

Love Over Hate

As I scroll through social media, I see a lot of Christians who share hateful and mean post. This breaks my heart. As I pray for these misguided people, God brought some things to my mind.

*You can not truly love Jesus if hate is living inside your heart. Look at his life. He had every reason to have hate in his life. But the life and death of Jesus was all about love.

*If you hate someone or something, that means you hate God’s creation. This world was built on love. We the people of this world ruined that beautiful creation. But with the love of Jesus we can build up and encourage a broken world.

*We have to be willing to show grace and forgiveness to others. Look what Jesus has done in our lives.

*We cannot show the love of Jesus with nasty rotten fruit. Where are you planting your seeds? Are spending time planting good seeds?

I will always choose love over hate. I hope you will join me. Share Love. ~OC

A Good Friend

Having good friends who love and support you makes life more happy. Making memories with friends is amazing. Having friends who stick with you during your biggest storms is priceless. So my question for everyone is “What makes a good friend?”

  • A good friend is with you during the good times and bad times. If you are walking through a storm keep an eye on those that walk with you and those that bail.
  • A good friend will never judge you. They may speak truth in your life, but it will be done with no judgment.
  • A good friend will never deliberately hurt you.
  • A good friend will always show respect and kindness.
  • A good friend is someone who will support your wildest dreams.
  • A good friend will never gossip about you.
  • A good friend will always be honest with you. Even when the truth hurts.
  • A true friend will cry and laugh with you.
  • A good friend will pick up the phone just to check on you.
  • A good friend will always listen.

This is just a short list qualities to look for in a friend. I encourage you to spend some time making your own list. ~OC

Lessons Along The Journey

I have been dealing with multiple life threatening health issues for 20 years. I have had ups and downs during this journey. Throughout the years, people have said some crazy things to Laura and I. I am sure most meant well, but that’s not the way it always came across. Here is a list to help you have positive conversations with someone dealing with serious medical issues. I will expound on some and some do not need any explanation.

*Well, Todd lasted this long. Yes, someone said that to Laura. Please do not say that to her or me.

*How are doing/How’s your health? I know people mean well, but I am more than my health. I really do not care to spend the whole visit discussing my health. Some days I am not even sure how I am feeling. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. (Hear is a free suggestion: Asked how Laura is doing? As a caregiver, her job is much tougher than mine).

*Do not hug me unless I move in for a hug. Let me initiate all physical contact. Not being mean, but my immune system is compromised.

*If I choose to wear a mask that’s my decision. Please do not make it a political or religious issue. It’s my life.

*If I choose to take a flu shot or some other vaccination that’s my business. Once again, do not make it a political or religious issue.

*Do not just show up for a visit. I could be resting or visiting with other guest. Please call first. Also do not stay all day.

*Do not say, I hate seeing you go through this. My current situation is what it is. I know people mean well, but I do not need a reminder I am sick. My body does a good job of reminding me.

*Do not say, Let me know if I can do anything for you if you do not mean it. I know that might sound harsh, but a lot of people say that just to be kind.

*Do not make my health journey about you. I am sorry if you lost a loved one to an illness I am dealing with, but it does not help if that is that’s all you talk about. Sorry.

*Do not tell me my health issues are caused by some spirit or sin in my life. Laura and I will shut you down. We do not need your poor theology in our lives.

*Do not tell me how I should handle my health issues. This journey is not yours. Laura and I will continue to look to God for His guidance and wisdom.

*Do not say how brave I am. Thanks for the compliment, but I do not always feel brave. Also I did not choose my health issues. It’s just life. I will continue to live a life that hopefully encourages others, but there will be days I do not want or feel like an inspiration.

I share these tips to help educate not to criticize. There is not a playbook on how to walk through a health journey. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or suggestions. ~OC

Life Giving Words

Why do I write? Why do I share my thoughts, hopes and pain with strangers? Why do I get so personal? I write to share hope, love and encouragement with those walking through their own journey.

I write to challenge and make people think. To step out of their comfort zone. It’s okay if you disagree with me.

I write to encourage others to write their own stories. We all have a story to tell. Every experience is an opportunity for a story. I hope someone will read one of my blog post and be encouraged to begin to put pen to paper. Or maybe just use a computer.

With God, all things are possible. I will continue to write to give hope, encouragement and prayers to all who read about my thoughts and experiences. I pray my words will let you know you’re never alone. Thanks for dropping by. ~OC

When We Suffer

I have been asked many times why I have dealt with so much physical suffering in my life? I am not 100% sure, but I know God has taught me many lessons during my health journey. Beautiful lessons I would never trade. Here are a few lessons I have learned about suffering during my medical journey.

Suffering prepares us to help others. I have been blessed with the opportunity to walk with many people during their health journey.

Suffering helps us grow in our walk with God. My relationship with God has grown so much during my health journey.

Suffering can bring relationships closer. My wife Laura and I have watched our marriage grow during my health journey. I am a better husband.

Suffering conforms us into God’s image. When people are suffering, the encouraging words from someone who has dealt with suffering can bring beautiful hope.

Remember, if we seek God through His word and prayer, we will find Him. God understands our pain because he too suffered. ~OC

Walking Another Journey

I have always tried to be open and honest about my health journey. God has given me a story of hope and encouragement to share with the world. He has given each of us a story to share. Here is my current story.

As some of you know, I walked an almost 18 year health journey. I faced death on many occasions. At one point I weighed 112 pounds, was living off a feeding tube and had to use a voice amplifier to speak. On November 3, 2019, with just two weeks to live, I walked into a tent and was healed during an old fashioned prayer and healing service. My life changed completely in a minute. I went from The Man Who Refused to Die, to the Dead Man Running sharing my story around the country. A documentary was even made about incredible journey (www.deadmanrunningmovie.com). Life was good. Then February 7, 2021 happened and my life changed again.

I woke up on Super Bowl Sunday February 7, 2021 excited. You see, my Tampa Bay Buccaneers were playing in the Super Bowl. I have been a Bucs fan since the NFL announced Tampa was getting a team in 1974. The Bucs started playing two years later in 1976. Anyone who truly calls themselves a Buccaneers fan knows there have been a lot of ups and downs over the years. But on Sunday February 7, 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would win the Super Bowl. I would only see a few minutes of the game. Life was about to throw me another curveball.

I woke up that Sunday morning a little tired, but nothing major. I went to church that morning feeling excited about the day. After church, I came home and took a small nap. Had to get my rest before cheering for my Bucs. I did not wake up rested. No, I woke up trenched in sweat and a 103.7 fever. So I ended up sleeping through most of the Super Bowl. The next day Monday February 8th, I would be admitted into the hospital with Covid and deal with a 104.4 fever for four straight days. Little did I know that over a year later, I would be still dealing with issues from Covid and be classified as a Long Hauler.

Which brings me to September 2022. I am currently hospitalized and dealing with an uncertain future. I was brought to the hospital a few days ago with stroke life symptoms. Thankfully, the doctors do not believe I had a stroke. So what caused those symptoms? We may never know. Thank you Covid. These days eating and even drinking have become difficult. At this time, I am taking in less than 500 calories a day. My body is being attacked on multiple fronts. A lot of tough decisions will need to be made over the next few days and weeks. Once again, thank you Covid.

With all that said, I am still clinging to the promises of Jesus. I am reaching out, just trying to touch his robe. I still believe in the beautiful miracles of Jesus. None of this is a surprise to the King of Kings. He is still using my beautiful crazy journey to tell a story of hope, love and encouragement. I am at peace.

A little side note. Jesus did not take away my miracle from November 3, 2019. My current health issues are not caused from sin in my life. I do not have some type of evil spirit in my life. The only spirit I have in my body is the Holy Spirit. I share this because these things have been said to me as I am walking this new health journey. I also know other people walking through their own journey that have heard these cruel words. Please do not believe these lies. Remember, Lazarus was raised from the dead, but today he is walking with Jesus in Heaven. So for those walking through a storm, do not walk in these lies. Walk in the beautiful victory, hope, love and peace of Jesus. Stay Focused. Finish Strong. ~OC

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